The Russian government will develop by 2012 a state program for prospecting and extracting mineral resources on Russia's Arctic shelf, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said.
"The Security Council discussed this issue during a recent meeting and instructed the government to finish drafting and adopt by the end of 2011 a long-term state program for prospecting and extracting mineral resources on Russia's Arctic shelf, Patrushev said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily published on Friday.
Russia is first in the world in natural gas reserves (24 percent of the total) and 7th in oil reserves (6 percent), but these resources are not renewable.
According to Russia's Natural Resources Ministry, the country is already exploring 75 percent of its oil and gas deposits on the continent. Many of these deposits register 50-percent depletion and low extraction coefficient (30 percent).
"In these circumstances, Russia's continental sea shelf becomes a major source of energy supplies, and its exploration assumes an enormous strategic and economic significance," Patrushev said.
Russian experts estimate recoverable oil and gas resources on the continental shelf at 100 billion tons of reference fuel.
The new program will help focus the efforts of the state and the leading Russian energy companies on efficient exploration of deposits on the continental shelf, Patrushev said.
MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti)